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November 3, 2010

Proposition 19 losing based on early reporting of precincts ... and ultimately falls short

This CNN page seems to be providing the most up-to-date information about voting on California's marijuana legalization proposition.  And, as of this writing, the Proposition is losing 56% to 44% with about one sixth of all precincts reporting results.  I suspect this margin will remain as all the votes come in, and I will provide an update in the morning.

UPDATE:  With 89 precinct reporting as of 6am EDT, the break-down is now 54% to 46% against Proposition 19.  This relatively close, but still negative, outcome will surely produce some interesting spin by both sides.  And the very interesting follow-up question, now that the proposition has been narrowly defeated, becomes whether a variation on Prop 19 gets on the 2012 ballot in California (and perhaps elsewhere).

More generally, the relatively low turnout of younger voters this cycle seems to have contributed to a tough election season for all pot initiatives.  In Oregon and South Dakota, medical marijuana ballot measures have lost, and the outcome in Arizona looks to be trending the same way (though the yes side is only a few thousand votes behind with over 1.3 million votes cast).

November 3, 2010 at 12:38 AM | Permalink

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Comments

The results closely mirror the latest nationwide Gallup poll, which also had legalization support at 46%.

Prop 19 was winning in the earlier polling, but lost steam over the last three weeks. When the LAT recommended a "no" vote, I thought right then that it was headed for trouble.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Nov 3, 2010 6:14:58 AM

I don’t think 54 to 46 is “relatively close.” That would be 51 to 49.

Posted by: Marc Shepherd | Nov 3, 2010 12:21:59 PM

Given that the Legislature already passed reduction of personal possession to an infraction and is little changed with the election, I'm not sure another initiative will be needed. It could be enacted the old-fashioned way.

As little confidence as I have in our Legislature, what it passes will probably be better written and better considered than Prop. 19, as it would be difficult to be worse.

Posted by: Kent Scheidegger | Nov 3, 2010 12:55:37 PM

I have not followed this issue too closely, but I wonder how many (or few) people were persuaded by the "you can support legalizing pot, but just not as Prop. 19 does it" argument. Were there exit polls that could shed light on that?

Posted by: DEJ | Nov 3, 2010 1:06:47 PM

Do not know the final stats but 54 to 46 is a lot closer than I thought I it would be! 2012 could be the year if the legislation is drafted a little better.

Posted by: Anon | Nov 3, 2010 7:39:13 PM

The Mexican drug lords are celebrating the defeat of Prop 19. The US market is secure. The cartels' business model has withstood its strongest challenge to date, perhaps the strongest challenge it will ever face.

Posted by: Fred | Nov 3, 2010 11:09:03 PM

This result was also a defeat for my theory that lawyers control public policy, that lawyers were responsible for the massive contradiction. Prohibit a slightly addictive substance, that kills dozens. Permit two substances that are highly addictive and that kill 500,000 a year, and account for a third of our health costs. The public is responsible. I apologize (sincerely) to the lawyer profession, and retract my
"dumbass" term of art.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Nov 4, 2010 3:50:45 AM

US drug warriors are celebrating the defeat of Prop 19. The US market is still secure for the cartels. The US drug warriors' business model has withstood its strongest challenge to date, perhaps the strongest challenge it will ever face.

Posted by: Fred | Nov 4, 2010 10:33:48 AM

Fred --

The argument that criminalization of drugs feeds the cartels was fully set forth -- indeed argued at great length -- in the campaign just concluded. You can see the results for yourself.

This is what it's turned into: You guys draft the legalization proposal in exactly the language you want, put it before the most favorable electorate you can find, stage a well-funded and articulate campaign, lose, and then CONTINUE ON WITH THE DRUMBEAT as if nothing had happened.

Elections have consequences, and the most obvious (and non-partisan) of them is that it's time to take down the campaign signs.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Nov 4, 2010 11:34:27 AM

Mr. Otis:

Yes, I agree that "[t]he argument that criminalization of drugs feeds the cartels was fully set forth -- indeed argued at great length -- in the campaign just concluded. You can see the results for yourself."

However, the result of the election, or for that matter any elction, does not have the same effect on this issue as on the vast majority of other issues argued during the campaign, such as the economy, unemployment, health care, financial reform, ect. All of these issues can be spun and will be spun to such an extent that a regular person does not have the time to determine what information is sufficiently reliable to have an informed opinion.

For instance, the republicans will likely propose a detailed solution to the economy or unemployment or whatever. Equally qualified experts will weigh in on the proposal, pro and con. The MSM and the parties' apparatus will reduce the debate to competing slogans and will intentionally distort good arguments, pro or con.

However, the facts of the terrorism in Mexico can not be mediated/distorted in the same fashion. Anyone with a news aggregator "can see the results (of the terrorism) for" themselves.

You cite the results of the election as the "final" word on the terrorism in Mexico. The problem is still there. It hasn't gone away. All the defeat of Prop 19 means is that there will be more of the same, which is more terrorism, much of which targets the Mexican criminal justice system and judicial branch of government.

Does this not concern you?

Posted by: Fred | Nov 4, 2010 12:53:15 PM

The mentality of pro-nanny-state, anti-liberty, No-on-19 voters:

"We know better than you. We've determined which naturally-occurring plants adults should be allowed to put in their bodies. If you cross us, and put a 'bad' plant in your body, we will fine and/or imprison you."

Isn't the absurdity apparent when government strips away the liberty of adults who knowingly and voluntarily ingest naturally-occurring plant material?

Posted by: Victor Haltom | Nov 4, 2010 4:19:17 PM

Victor Haltom --

Opium is likewise a "naturally-occurring plant material."

Are you then in favor of legalizing heroin? If not, why not? Doesn't liberty also dictate that individuals, not the government, have the right to decide whether they can handle the dangers of opium?

If you favor legalizing heroin, are you also in favor of legalizing meth? Crack? LSD?

If, on the other hand, you support keeping these things illegal, you have just punched a giant hole in your libertarian argument.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Nov 4, 2010 6:14:38 PM

If an adult wishes to sit in his or her backyard and consume peyote or shoot heroin, the government should not get involved. It should not fine or imprison the individual for putting something into his/her body.

If the drug user gets behind the wheel of a vehicle while impaired, the government should properly intercede in order to protect the citizenry.

Authoritarians think they know better than other individuals what those other individuals should be able to put in their own bodies. Unfortunately, this misguided paternalism prevails in much of our society.

"The only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilized community, against his will, is to pre vet harm to others...." --- John Stuart Mill

Posted by: Victor Haltom | Nov 6, 2010 12:23:13 AM

Mr. Haltom --

Your response strongly suggests that you do indeed favor legalization of LSD, crack, meth and heroin, along with marijuana. Is that correct?

Are you not aware that legalization will increase use of all these drugs? And that with increased use there will come increased addiction, sickness and death?

Simply to brand the vast majority of your fellow citizens who want to keep these things illegal as "authoritarians" might feel good and self-righteous to you, but you will not be winning any adherents with it.

Under the Mill standard you quote, government also could not criminalize the extended torture of animals a person owns -- for example, inflicting lifelong pain, misery and terror on a helpless dog. Is that OK with you?

Posted by: Bill Otis | Nov 6, 2010 11:01:09 AM

Mr. Otis:

You carefully choose the pro-legalization argments to which you respond. While you have debated Mr. Haltom, you have yet to respond to the question I asked you upthread. So I have a few more questions for you.

1. Will the legalization of all street drugs in the US collapse the US retail price of the street drugs?

2. Without the legalization of street drugs in the US, can the Mexican government put a stop to the terrorism committed by the cartels? If yes, how would this be accomplished?

3. Will the level of terrorism increase in Mexico?

4. Can (not will) the terrorism spread north? If no, why?

Posted by: Fred | Nov 6, 2010 1:32:23 PM

Fred --

The reason I did not answer your earlier question was that it's silly. The question was whether I was concerned about continued violence undertaken by the drug cartels.

Please.

No normal person is unconcerned with violence. But your premises are incorrect. If the drug trade becomes legal, the cartels will only move (further) into human trafficking. (Do you want to make that legal too?). They will NOT go out of business, and they will not change their violent ways. People who kill for money and power do not become Mr. Nicey because the law changes. Surely you know this.

You have previoulsy taken the position that we should -- indeed we must -- legalize all drugs, including LSD, meth and all the others I mentioned. Such a position is so inhumane, so oblivious to the miseries of addiction, and so far outside the mainstream that there is no particular point in having a debate about it. For any practical purpose affecting public policy, there IS no debate on legalizing the harder drugs.

The way to deal with the cartels is hardly to allow them to dictate internal drug law or policy in the United States. Their grotesque violence should be dealt with as we are dealing with the outfit in the world whose brutality most resembles theirs, to wit, the Taliban.

Get the drones, use them, and keep using them until the cartels, or what is them left of them, conclude that the price of doing business has become higher than they care to pay.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Nov 6, 2010 4:11:31 PM

Mr. Otis:

You danced around my question upthread at Nov 4, 2010 12:53:15 PM and did even attempt to answer my questions upthread at Nov 6, 2010 1:32:23 PM. However, I will directly address your comment at Nov 6, 2010 4:11:31 PM.

You asked me: "If the drug trade becomes legal, the cartels will only move (further) into human trafficking. (Do you want to make that legal too?).

No.

The ROI from human trafficking is miniscule compared to the ROI from drug trafficking. I agree that even with the legalization of all street drugs the cartels "will NOT go out of business, and they will not change their violent ways." But they will over time cease to be gazillionaires, which will make it much easier for the Mexican government to successfully deal with them by traditional law enforcement tactics.

You stated: "[the complete legalization of all street drugs} is so inhumane, so oblivious to the miseries of addiction, and so far outside the mainstream that there is no particular point in having a debate about it. For any practical purpose affecting public policy, there IS no debate on legalizing the harder drugs."

But you stated in your comment upthread at Nov 4, 2010 11:34:27 AM: "The argument that criminalization of drugs feeds the cartels was fully set forth -- indeed argued at great length -- in the campaign just concluded."

So is there a debate or not? But most importantly why don't you want to address "the argument that criminalization of drugs feeds the cartels"?

You stated "Get the drones, use them, and keep using them until the cartels, or what is them left of them, conclude that the price of doing business has become higher than they care to pay."

That's a good one.

How chaotic, violent, and lawless do you think it will have to be before the Mexican government gives permission for drone attacks inside Mexico?

How chaotic, violent, and lawless do you think it will have to be before the USG would launch drone attacks inside Mexico without the permission of the Mexican government?

Could you explain why it would be in the US national interest to allow conditions in Mexico to get that chaotic, violent, and lawless?

I'll leave you with a joke. Why is it a bad career move to become AQ's number 3? Because during the last year three different number 3s have been killed by drone attacks.

Posted by: Fred | Nov 7, 2010 11:02:59 AM

Fred --

Sure, anyone can have a "debate" in cyberspace, with no real world consequences.

If, however, the issue is whether there is a REALISTIC debate about the legalization of all hard drugs -- a legalization you say you support -- the answer is no. As I said, and you "dance around," (to coin a phrase), such legalization will bring about such an increase in human misery and treatment costs that society is not about to tolerate it.

You people can't even win a marijuana legalization referendum in California. Where do you think you're going to win a meth and LSD legalization debate? The moon?

Posted by: Bill Otis | Nov 7, 2010 9:30:35 PM

Mr. Otis:

I apologize for putting you on the spot with my questions. I know that diplomatically it is impolitic to describe the violence in Mexico as a war or an insurrection or to opine the the Mexican government is losing. The Mexican government and its citizens are rather sensitive when "gringos" say such things. Even Hillary got slapped down back in September for calling the violence an insurrection.

But I'm just a regular guy, so I can say such things. I haven't had a high level government job in the past or hope to return to government service in the future. I admire your self-discipline in sticking to your talking points. Good job.

Once again I apologize for pestering you with questions, you couldn't or wouldn't answer.

Posted by: Fred | Nov 7, 2010 11:57:19 PM

Fred --

My, my, are we into sarcasm though.

But I'll tell ya what. Since you're so keen for a debate, where you can expose me for sticking to my "talking points" and all, let's do it.

For real, not in cyberspace. That way you can use your real name, as I do, and take responsibility in person for what you say, as I do and will.

I occasionally debate legalization at Federalist Society sponsored events. I have done so twice recently (at Ohio State and George Washington) and will doing so a week from now in California.

If you want to accept this debate invitation, contact your nearest Federalist Society student or lawyers chapter and have them contact me. I urge you to represent your views in full throat. The topic will be: "Resolved: Drugs Should Be Legalized."

I assume you will act on this, so that you can expose me for the dope (so to speak) you take me to be, and to demonstrate your own brilliance.

In taking the affirmative in the debate, you will be free to emphasize cartel violence and any and all other points you think salient.

Come on down!

Posted by: Bill Otis | Nov 8, 2010 11:41:24 AM

Mr. Otis:

Thank you for the kind invitation. Our exhanges upthread have been at cross purposes. You have wanted to talk about one thing and I another. As far as your invitation is concerned, I'm willing to talk about what you want to talk about, if you're willing to do the same for me. But I have no interest in continuing to talk past each other. So let me see if I can frame the issue in a way that will be worth the effort. I'll post it here tomorrow and you can consider it. If you're willing, then I accept.

Posted by: Fred | Nov 8, 2010 9:12:58 PM

Fred --

The issue is drug legalization. I'm against it, you're for it. Our exchanges leave no doubt about this. One reason for your view is your opinion that legalization will vastly reduce cartel profiteering and violence. You are of course free to use that or anything else at a live debate. But the subject we've been discussing is quite plain.

Still, I will await your message tomorrow.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Nov 8, 2010 10:25:21 PM

Mr. Otis:

Sorry for the delay. I accept.

Posted by: Fred | Nov 11, 2010 4:18:38 PM

Fred --

I had all but abandoned hope, but I'm glad to see your acceptance.

Of course I don't know your background, or who you are or where you live. My suggestion, as I was saying, is to seek out the nearest FedSoc chapter. I have done legalization debates under their sponsorship several times, so they will probably know of me. It will considerably help, of course, if you can show them credentials as knowledgeable in the area. The FedSoc likes to keep the debates at a level suitable for an audience of law students and practicing lawyers.

For myself, I was a federal prosecutor for a number of years; Special White House Counsel for a time for President Bush (41); Counselor to the head of the DEA (2003-2007); and am now an adjunct professor of law at Georgetown Law School.

Most of the year I live in a suburb of Washington, DC, but I live in Hawaii in January and February, so I would not be available those months (unless, of course, you are in Hawaii).


Please keep me advised of the progress of the arrangements, and thank you for your acceptance.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Nov 12, 2010 12:03:44 AM

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